NSW Minister should take the tough decision on quad bike safety

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It was reported during the recent Farm Safety Week in Australia, that the  Federal Government is willing to work with the States to improve quad bike safety.  The New South Wales (NSW) Government has responded by saying the Federals should provide a national five-star safety rating system on the farm vehicles.  Such a system is widely supported until the discussion turns to the criteria to be included.

Some of the print reporting of the current discussions sound has the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean, sounding like a politician – reasonable and measured.  However, the delivery of the same message on the NSW Country Hour program for July 18 2017 (at the 43 minute 40 second mark) is much tougher.  The Minister should be even tougher on this issue and take it up to the quad bike manufacturers. Continue reading “NSW Minister should take the tough decision on quad bike safety”

What is Farm Safety Week really saying about safety?

This week is Farm Safety Week in Australia.  This means that a lot of organisations will be issuing media releases about how to either, improve safety performance (ie. reduce harm) or raise awareness of risks and safety.  What is likely to be missing from the information is practical information.  This is partly because of the unique nature of farmers – isolated, small businesses, politically conservative and working from home.

Safe Work Australia

On the first day of the week Safe Work Australia (SWA) released an

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Risk assessment early in development of residential storage battery standard

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Australia’s Royal Commission into Home Insulation program (HIP) seemed to have had little long-term impact beyond the closing of the environmental subsidy scheme and political attacks.  However, controversial environment reporter, Graham Lloyd, in an article in The Australian on 11 July 2017 (only available through paywall), has identified a HIP legacy as causing restrictions on the installation of residential batter storage. Continue reading “Risk assessment early in development of residential storage battery standard”

Quinlan’s time capsule includes useful OHS perspectives

Professor Michael Quinlan has been writing about occupational health and safety (OHS) and industrial relations for several decades. His writing has matured over that time as indicated by his most recent book, Ten Pathways to Death and Disaster.  In 1980, one of his articles looked at OHS through the prisms of Capitalism and Marxism.  It is remarkable how much an article that was written early in Quinlan’s career and at a time when OHS was considered another country remains relevant today.  This perspective contrasts strongly with the current dominant thinking on OHS and as a result sounds fresh and may offer some solutions.

In Quinlan’s 1980 article, “The Profits of Death: Workers’ Health and Capitalism”*, he writes that

“contrary to popular belief there is no objective irrefutable definition of illness”.

This could equally be applied to safety.  But searching for THE definition of things can lead to everlasting colloquia of academic experts without helping those who need to work within and apply safety concepts.

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Will we ever get to see Victoria’s latest OHS review?

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The Victorian (Labor) Government promised a review of WorkSafe Victoria’s enforcement policies in its 2014 campaign pledges as per the quote below.  The independent occupational health and safety (OHS) review was conducted in 2016 with a lot of public submissions.  The review’s final report was presented to the Victorian Minister for Finance, Robin Scott in December 2016.  Everything has been quiet since. Continue reading “Will we ever get to see Victoria’s latest OHS review?”